VAR - Very atrocious refereeing

English Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers have suffered since the introduction of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) with poor decisions, poor excuses and even apologies from the head of the referee organisation (PGMOL – Professional Game Match Officials Limited) Howard Webb.  Even some of the less Wolves-friendly television pundits have condemned the absence of obvious situations where the VAR should intervene (On field referee makes a clear and obvious error).

The most recent episodes were in a home match against Leeds United were the non-application of the laws for fouls leading to a penalty not being awarded by referee Salisbury and an opposition goal.   VAR was correctly deployed against Wolves, though, which has led to a persecution feeling amongst fans.

Perhaps rightly so as the Daily Telegraph’s John Percy was moved to declare “Wolves relegation battle in danger of being determined by poor refereeing” following the Leeds defeat

In the previous match a clear foul was not referred by the VAR for an on-field review by the referee who had not given the obvious penalty (and red card) against the Newcastle United goalkeeper.

The assistant referees have been culpable too.  They have not advised the referee – in the case of the two fouls in the Leeds match, nor the clear penalty against Newcastle.   Since they can’t signal offside anymore what is the point of having them?   Even worse, the AR or linesman, as they were once called, called an offside that wasn’t costing Wolves a win in the FA Cup at Liverpool who then won the replay.  The VAR excuse for not intervening – they didn’t have a camera angle to overrule the linesman – in spite of clear images emerging after the match.  Cue: conspiracy reported by Football 365

Liverpool used to do well out of VAR decisions (apart from season 2022-23)– Wolves can look back to a handball by Liverpool defender Virgil van Dyke on the half way line which led to the move from which a goal was scored in Decmber 2019.  On this occasion VAR decided that it wasn’t in the final action so not relevant.   It seems here and on subsequent occasions that, in spite of the laws of the game being written down, match officials who are supposed to enforce them are actually making up their own interpretations.  Wolves again have suffered here by inventive referees (as did Manchester City) by a “new rule” {not a law, note) that the their player to approach a referee is booked leading to Lamina being dismissed, Fortunately, and unusually, this did not affect the result.  The FA admitted newly-promoted ref Jarrett was wrong (not his first mistake either)

The wide television coverage of France’s Ligue 1, Germany’s Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A h, as well as the UEFA and FIFA competitions, have demonstrated how well VAR can be used by good officials.

The Premier League have instituted VAR communications with the Football Supporters Association (FSA), the fans’ “union”, but, if anything, standards seemed to have dropped further since this was established.  Two years ago the FSA determined that fans were leaving the game because of VAR.  When fans, and even the pundits, spend most of the time talking about VAR and referee errors,  the cry from fans is that PGMOL must begin to earn the Respect that their fatuous campaign asks for – by doing their job just as well as fans are expected to do theirs to provide the wages to buy their tickets.


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